7 Foods to Eat When You’re Exercising Less

There is always an offseason in training when athletes can find themselves a few pounds heavier than they prefer. First, remember to match your caloric intake with your energy expenditure. During the offseason, try to make sure your diet consists of a better balance of foods, and use this time as an opportunity to try new foods. I recommend the color “green” as a definite go-to for better health. Check out the top seven foods to eat during the offseason.

Kale
If you have not jumped on the kale bandwagon yet, this is a great time to do so. Whether you eat it sautéed, in a soup, salad or as baked chips, this vegetable is loaded with iron, vitamins A, C, Bs, calcium and iron. It’s also packed with fiber and antioxidants, and there are only 34 calories in 1 cup of kale.

More: Savory Shitake Bowl With Kale

Avocados
Avocados are nutrient-dense fruits—they pack 20 vitamins and minerals into a creamy, versatile package. In addition to fiber, avocados contain monounsaturated fatty acids that are great for your heart. Use avocado in place of mayo on a sandwich, throw it in a shake, find an easy soup recipe (hot or cold), or just eat it right out of its skin.

More: Avocado Cheesecake Recipe

Edamame
Edamame are soybeans in the pods that are picked before they mature. Appearing often as an appetizer in Japanese restaurants, they can be found in just about every frozen food aisle. They’re easy to cook, mildly flavored, and are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, essential fatty acids and protein. You can also find them freeze dried for grab-and-go snacking. Mix edamame with chickpeas when making hummus for a healthy, protein-rich snack.

Green Tea
A surge in research touting the health benefits of green tea has been published over the last decade. Considered a wonderful antioxidant that helps with blood flow, heart health, cholesterol, and improving immune function and preventing cell damage, green tea contains the amino acid theanine (sometimes referred to as L-theanine), which can help you remain calm and focused. Dr. Dean Ornish recommends drinking it every day.

More: Your Favorite Caffeinated Drinks Made Healthier

Spinach
Spinach is not just for Popeye. Whether you eat it sautéed or in a salad, this green leafy vegetable is another powerhouse of vitamins, minerals and fiber—all for only 7 calories per cup. Yes, you read that right, 7 calories.

Broccoli
Broccoli is another green food that is great raw or cooked. Filled with vitamins K, C, A and Bs, it also contains folate, fiber and potassium. Try dicing it up into small pieces and eating it with your other salad accompaniments or throwing it into soups.

Kiwi
This small fruit is filled with vitamins A, C and E and has as much potassium as a banana. Kiwi seeds contain alpha linoleic acid, which is an omega-3 fatty acid that repairs tissues and helps fight inflammation.

More: Nutrition Quick Tip: Add Peels to Your Meals 

Offseason Fuel Tip: Rethink What You Consume
Be mindful of the number of calories you eat if your daily energy expenditure has decreased. Think about the foods and beverages that you put into your body as tools to prevent illnesses, promote longevity, and power the activities you do.

More: Nutrition Quick Tip: Offseason Fueling Tips 

Offseason Fuel Tip: Watch Your Alcohol Consumption
You may find that you consume more alcohol when you are not training. There are 7 calories per gram in alcohol—this is closest to fat calories. So to help your body stay well nourished and ready for training, consume alcohol in moderation.

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